Portuguese Police Glock Safety Saga

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

A few years ago, in a classic case of government bureaucracy covering their ass, the Portuguese Police decided that one requirement of their future pistol is that it must have a manual external safety. They, of course, then choose the one gun which is the epitome of manual safety-less pistols, the Glock. Glock shipped them 42,000 Glock 19s with external thumb safeties, similar to the Glock 17 safety I blogged about recently, worth 13 million Euros.

Portuguese Police Glock 19. Photo from Portal das Curiosidades forum.

The police upper management then proceeded to tell the public how wonderful their new pistols were. The cops on the street must have been given a different gun because their pistols were having all sorts of problems. They had magazines randomly falling out of the guns, magazines refusing to drop out when the mag release was pressed, brass being ejected into the shooters face and just plain failing to cycle. The Portuguese IPSC community, where I believe Glocks are popular, were not at all surprised.

FORÇA DE SEGURANÇA translates to Security Force (Police force)

A few weeks ago the Portuguese media discovered that the police have signed a contract with Glock to retrofit all their pistols with normal, safety-less, Glock 19 frames. No doubt at a significant cost to the tax payer.

The government fears that the other pistol manufacturers such as HK, Beretta, Walther and Mannlicher, who were passed over in the search for the new pistol, will sue them for choosing a faulty pistol and for stipulating that a safety was a requirement, only to drop the requirement a few years later.

Many thanks to my anonymous Portuguese source for the links and translations he sent me.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 22 comments
  • Shadow Shadow on Feb 19, 2010

    What happened with my comment. I think it was only tecnycal, and I'm availabe to talk about the issue. I think that is important that the Glocks fans get the right idea about the so called "Glock a la protuguese", once the professionals who go on duty with it had no other solution. And this situation ocurred only in two of the several police departments operatin in Portugal; the biggest ones but only two. The other has their Glocks as they were built to work, and with no problems.

  • Headknocker Headknocker on Jun 28, 2011

    I want one of those surplus frames with the safety as a collectors item..

    That "Safety" appears to be trigger block style..

    Also note that it's a Gen3 Glock 19 not a Gen4

    Gary/Headknocker - Glock 17L